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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: demographics

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July 18, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Think the least educated drink most? Data might surprise you

Numbers can anchor free-floating impressions, but sometimes they offer unexpected revelations.

To wit: Those with a master’s degree spend five times the amount that high-school dropouts spend on alcohol — $748 versus $148 each year.

On the other hand, dropouts spend more than double what the highly-educated spend on tobacco — $323 compared to $143.

Screen shot of the "Degrees of Spending" infographic

Screen shot of the “Degrees of Spending” infographic


Comments | More in News | Topics: demographics, higher ed

April 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Why colleges are pushing diversity

Last week, Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard drew sharp criticism from conservative groups for saying that Western needed to attract more minority students. About 76 percent of the school’s enrollment is white.

It’s worth stepping back  for context on the issue and a look at how the state’s young adult population is expected to shift in the coming decades.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which does demographic research to predict what future classes of high-school graduates will look like, projects a steady decrease in the number of white students graduating from Washington high schools. Indeed, the percentage of white students reached its peak in 2010-11 with a high of about 48,000, and is expected to drop to 38,000 by 2027.

Whites make up about 68 percent of public high-school grads in Washington today, and in 2020, will make up 65 percent. Among public high-school graduating classes, whites will remain a majority in Washington through 2028 — but just by a sliver.


Comments | More in News | Topics: Bruce Shepard, demographics, higher ed

January 21, 2014 at 4:59 PM

What King County’s college-age population will look like in 2028

Shifting U.S. demographics are expected to shake up the world of college admissions in the next several years. Overall birth rates have declined, and kindergarten classrooms in many regions include more Latino and Asian-American students than ever before.

What that means for the future of colleges and universities is the subject of an extensive data project and accompanying story from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Using census data, The Chronicle examines the race or ethnic groups of children who will reach college age each year through 2028.

As reporter Sara Lipka notes: “Two decades of steady supply drove enrollment growth and let campuses be choosy, gathering freshmen with good test scores and parents who could pay. But those days are over.”

More locally, a report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education highlights current racial discrepancies in Washington’s high school graduation rates, test scores and income. Among working-age adults in this state, Hispanic or Latino residents have a median income of $23,719 (using 2010 census numbers) — about two-thirds the statewide median.


Comments | More in News | Topics: demographics, higher ed